Generic Description of Loeselia


Perennial shrubs, suffrutescent herbs, short-lived perennials, flowering the first year, sometimes behaving as annuals; stems erect to decumbent, often numerous, arising from a few woody basal stems or rarely a woody burl, villous, puberulent, or with sparse uniseriate, multicellular trichomes, the terminal cell glandular or not, rarely glabrous, branches opposite or opposite below and alternate distally.  Leaves opposite throughout, or becoming alternate distally; simple, lamina symmetrical, serrate, serrulate, or biserrate, the teeth mucronate, spinulose, or aristate, sessile, subsessile, or petiolate, the blade usually decurrent; veination of cauline leaves pinnate, craspedodromus, variously simple, mixed or semi-craspedodromus, higher order veins reticulate, forming distinct areoles, veinlets simple, branched, or lacking, intramarginal vein present or not.  Inflorescences cymose paniculate, bracteate, in more or less congested dichasial clusters, these clusters often head-like; heads solitary and few to many flowered, or in clusters, terminal, lateral or both; bracts sessile or subsessile, narrow to broad and clasping, serrate to aristate, usually fenestrate, particularly at the proximal end, usually morphologically distinct from the cauline leaves in size and shape.  Flowers subtended by floral bracts, perfect, five-merous calyx, corolla and androecia.  Calyx campanulate to tubular, radially or slightly bilaterally symmetric; with five somewhat herbaceous costae and scarious intercostal regions, or entirely scarious, the costae with three parallel, thin veins; lobes acute, entire or toothed, mucronate to aristate.  Corolla funnelform to salverform, radially to strongly bilaterally symmetric, external (abaxial) surface glandular to glabrous, internal (adaxial) tube and throat glandular pubescent or glabrous, lobes elliptic, ovate, or spatulate, often narrowly clawed; lobe venation lacking or with anastomoses.  Stamens more or less equally inserted at the sinuses of the corolla lobes or below, within the tube, filaments equal or unequal in length, exserted, pubescent, papillate or glabrous, sometimes declinate.  Pollen pantoporate, exine pertectate, with fine striations and spinule-like processes.  Carpels three, forming an ellipsoidal to obovoidal ovary, apex of ovary glandular puberulent to glabrous; style solitary, included or exserted, stigma lobes three, linear to lingulate.  Fruit a loculicidal capsule, ellipsoidal or globose in shape, dehiscing from the apex, the valves remaining fused proximally, 3-loculed, sometimes only one locule with seeds, the others unfilled and poorly developed.  Seeds one to several per locule, often somewhat flattened, circular to oviod or obovoid in outline, narrowly winged or wingless, tan, brown, or reddish-brown in color, seed coat producing mucilage when wetted, endosperm abundant, embryo with ovate cotyledons, equal in length or slightly longer than the radical.  2n= 18 (12 species), base chromosome number: x= 9.  Sixteen species [list of species; key to species].